May 5, 2020
Whether it was a much-admired grandmother who was a nurse or the memory of how a particularly kind nurse cared for a loved one, the inspiration for choosing to serve for many of the nurses we are honoring during Nurses Week 2020 is often rooted in family.
“My mom told me I’ve always said I wanted to be a nurse,” Sharon Heath, RN, of Local 5621 said. “I worked in the intensive care unit for 25 years before going into palliative care. Over the years, I spent a lot of time doing communication, education and helping families in emotionally difficult situations. Patients and families sometimes don’t get to say goodbye; don’t get to say a final ‘I love you’. I just knew I could make a positive difference at such a stressful time for people.”
Health Professionals and Allied Employees will celebrate Nurses Week 2020 by honoring our members in social media posts about what lit the spark for them and why they chose to serve.
Like many of our Healthcare Heroes, who have selflessly borne the brunt of this pandemic, Heath finds herself being a bridge between patients and families who are cut off from one another since there is no visitation in hospitals because of the virulence of COVID-19.
“Right now, it’s even more draining because families can’t come into the hospital due to the pandemic quarantine. We are using phones, tablets, any way that we can, to connect families so they can say goodbye to their loved ones,” Heath said.
U.S. Senator Cory Booker will join HPAE for a telephone town hall on Wednesday night to kick off Nurses Week 2020 and give an update on federal efforts to support frontline caregivers during the pandemic.
“Healthcare workers deserve to have access to every tool possible to safeguard their own well being while caring for patients on the frontlines of this pandemic,” Booker said.
HPAE President Debbie White, RN, applauded the members—like Heath of Local 5621; Doris Bell of Local 5118; John Bauer of Local 5185; Lorna ‘Mickie’ Miquiabas of Local 5030; Tiffany Busby of Local 5058; Vivian Infante of Local 5030; and Wendy Bobcombe of Local 5089—being profiled in the celebration.
“Especially in these difficult and harrowing days, these members together exemplify the spirit of honor, sacrifice and service that runs deep in our union,” White said.
For more information, please contact: Bridget Devane, Public Policy Director, 732-996-5493